Liverpool’s midfield rebuild has been extensive this summer & early evidence suggests the signing of Domink Szoboszlai will provide much entertainment at Anfield in 2023-24.
Following their fifth-place finish last season, missing out on Champions League football for the first time since 2016-17, Jurgen Klopp has gutted the midfield that helped Liverpool conquer England and Europe.
James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left at the end of their contracts. Jordan Henderson, much to the chagrin of the LGBTQ community, took the Saudi coin and defected on his legacy from the height of the West Tower. Fabinho is expected to follow eastwards.
It could be argued that Klopp would’ve wanted his engine room rebuild to be more gradual, allowing his youngsters to gain experience and his new signings to adjust to the demands of playing for Liverpool.
No dice. But at least Szoboszlai has settled in well. Never mind ducks and water, the £61million signing from RB Leipzig has taken to his new club like Michael Phelps testing an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Quick, agile and technically brilliant, the Hungary international shone during his second-half appearance in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Leicester out in Singapore.
And Szoboszlai showed that his speed wasn’t solely limited to his legs after spotting Leicester goalkeeper Mads Hermansen off his line.
Having robbed Harry Winks like a Victorian street urchin, the 22-year-old took the opportunity to spread mischief with a delightfully flighted shot towards the unguarded goal.
Even more amazingly, Hermansen kept both his dignity & the effort at bay with a Van Persie-esque diving header. Killjoy.
Dominik Szoboszlai was inches away from scoring the cheekiest goal of 2023.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) July 30, 2023
“We already have a little knowledge of Dominik as an opponent because we had a couple of really tough games against Red Bull Salzburg when he was a player there,” said Jurgen Klopp after the signing of Szoboszlai was announced earlier this month.
“And I think everyone who saw those fixtures will have realised that even at that stage he was a really interesting prospect.
“I’m pretty sure he was still a teenager at that time and since then he has made some big strides – moving to Leipzig, doing really, really well in the Bundesliga, playing for the Hungary national team and then becoming captain of his national team at an incredibly young age.
“These are proper positives and this is even before we even think about his qualities as a footballer. I will not say too much about them at this stage except they are definitely the kind which will hopefully bring a lot of enjoyment and also help us to get results.
“There is no pressure, though. Dominik is still a very young player. He has so much development ahead of him and this means it makes sense for us all to be patient and to give him the time and space to allow his talent to come through within our team.
“The good thing is we have supporters who understand this process. I know the fans are as excited as we are but I am also aware, because I have seen it many times already, that they will be a massive help to us in terms of creating the conditions that will allow Dominik to thrive.”
If nothing else, it’s whetted our appetite to see Szoboszlai in competitive action this season; this boy just gets the Barclays.
By Michael Lee